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Learn to Love: Running at the Track

The expression "I am running around in circles" definitely has a negative connotation, but I am here to say that running around in circles, well ovals really, when at the track is something you should learn to love. Before you protest, let me list my reasons why I have come to love track workouts.



Body Health:

  • Be it a dirt or a composite track, the surface is much easier on your joints than unforgiving concrete sidewalks and even softer than more forgiving asphalt streets.

  • Warming up is easier at the track for me. I actually do a track warm up with a two lap combination of skipping, side to side grapevines, jogging and high knee lifts to warm up my hip flexors, followed by some stretching.

Safety:

  • Simply put – there are no cars on the track, so you don't have to worry about getting hit by an automobile. You can actually space out, crank your tunes, or really focus on your running stride and gait.
  • There is safety in numbers. Running alone before the sun comes up or after it goes down can be a bit risky. There are generally a handful of people running or walking at the lit tracks so you can worry less.

Oh, I am not done yet! To see the rest of my reasons, read more.

Timing/Interval training

  • You can accurately monitor your pace at the track by timing every lap, so they are great for tempo runs.
  • Running intervals is so easy at the track – make every third lap a sprint and measure how far you can go before you feel the need to slow down, but do try to push yourself to the finish line.
  • Running with people around can really bring out your competitive spirit and make you run just a little bit faster. You know the thought, "I am going to pass the dude."

Formality

  • The track just seems so formal that it brings out the best in me. I feel it really reigns in my wandering mind and makes me focus on my running technique. Yep, it reminds me of track practice from the days of yore and helps me channel my inner coach.

I know that if I only ran in circles at a track, I would probably lose my mind. But I do so like to mix it up, and running intervals at the track is actually fun and doable. Try it. You just might like it and even learn to love it.

Fit's Tip: If you do all your running on a fancy track with a slight grade, make sure to run in both directions around the track since the angle of the ground can throw off your gait and possibly create an over use injury on one side of your body.

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